Unlevel Pool Danger

by lj
(ashburn, ga)

A friend gave us a 24ft. above ground pool (one piece metal wall) which we installed ourselves (crazy).

We have a couple of issues. (1) The pool is not level. One side is about 5-6 inches lower than the other side. We thought this would be okay since the filter and return are on the deeper side. Another friend then told us that we couldn't leave it this way because if a wave went over the side everything and everyone in the pool could be swept out. Is this true? We have two small children and are now afraid to take them in.

(2) We (stupidly) had way too much sand brought in. So we just spread it out and set the pool down in it. Which we now know is a no-no. There is a lot of sand packed around the outside and everything looks stable enough but can we leave it this way or can we remove the sand from around the outside and replace it with dirt? Or do we need to just drain it and start all over?

I really fear the answer to this because it took a lot of back breaking work to get it done. Most importantly, though we want it to be safe for our kids. We really don't care about damage to liner because we plan on buying a new one next year. We would really appreciate your time in answering these questions. Thanks, lj

Hi Lj

I would suggest draining the pool and doing some leveling on it. Five inches off level can be tolerated if the pool is set on firm ground with a lot of firm dirt packed around the pool to keep it from shifting or collapsing.

The issue I have with what you described is that the pool is set on a base of sand. It is setting on very unstable ground with nothing to speak of on the outside to help hold it together and keep it from shifting.

I think I would at least drain the pool enough to pull the liner back from the edges just enough to allow you to do some leveling under the rails and uprights. I would make sure you have patio blocks under all the uprights, this is very important if you pool is set on a sand base.

Hopefully by doing this you can bring the pool to at least within a couple of inches of level. I would then make sure you had dirt packed around the outside of the pool. That should help to hold the sand in place.

Pulling the liner back without completely draining the pool is described on this page.

Pool Out of Level

Comments for Unlevel Pool Danger

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May 03, 2015
In ground pool I unlevel 4" . Built on built up back yard with trench around fence for rain drainage about 4to 5 feet ditch.
by: Mema

In ground pool built on large mound with cement all around & 4t to 5 foot ditch for rain drainage, vinyl liner that is unlevel 4in on left side. Is this stable. House on end lot & drains rain from the houses up the street. Is a sink hole possible. Just concerned.


If the pool is in the ground it should not make any difference.

Jul 13, 2015
by: Anonymous

My pool is about 4 inches unlevel .I don't think it even looks safe ):

Jun 26, 2018
Unlevel pool Danger
by: Anonymous

I have a 14 ft pool the water level on one side is 12 inches higher is that okay.


Jul 01, 2019
18 by 33 unlevel
by: Anonymous

We just put up a 18 by 33 above ground pool, it’s a little higher on one side maybe 4-5inches we have very heavy packed dirt underneath with maybe an inch and half of sand. We did however have to dig almost 2 feet down to meet the deck with the pool (previous owners had a pool there - not a replacement). So we did pack that same dirt around the pool. Should we be worried and should we fix it?


If it is in the ground like you say it should be fine.

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Uneven Water Level

by Nicole
(Weymouth, MA USA)

We recently installed a 15' by 30' oval above ground pool. When putting up the sides, a level was used to make each section even. We added a foot of water after the liner was placed and everything seemed OK. However, after filling the entire pool it is clear that one side is 3" higher than the other.

Is it safe to leave it like this? If not, will it be ok for the rest of the summer at least? Also, what would be the most efficient way to fix it?


Hi Nicole

Three inches is about as far as I would want to see any above ground pool be out of level. How safe it is depends on several factors. If the three inches is gradual you might be all right, if the pool just drops off, that's not good.

If you have any spaces under the bottom rails I would get them filled in. The more dirt you can pack around the outside of an above ground pool the safer it is.

If you used blocks under the backs of all the braces and under the end uprights, you will probably be all right. If you left blocks out and the pool appears to be shifting you may want to consider draining immediately.

If the pool was built on a six inch base of sand I would drain immediately. If the pool was built on firm ground you might be OK.

To fix the pool correctly it all needs to come down. The side braces need to be completely re-leveled. When this is done the end rails need to be leveled. It is well worth the money to rent a transit for the day and get all the leveling just perfect. It makes all the difference in the world in the final product.

These pages of pools being installed may help a little when it comes time to fix the leveling problem.

Above Ground Swimming Pool Installation

Above Ground Oval Installation

Atlantic Above Ground Pool

Diamond Star Above Ground Pool

Comments for Uneven Water Level

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Jun 12, 2014
3" off
by: Anonymous

I just put up a 14' round above ground pool that is about 42" deep. We layed down 8 7/16" osb ply wood, then layed down on top of that 1/2" insulfoam and taped it together to creat a 16' x 16' area for the pool and then cover it with a 16' x 20' tarp. After filling the pool up about maybe half way I noticed that I am about 3" lower on one side. What should I do? Is there a quick fix? Will it be okay or will it collapse?

Thanks, Chris

Hi Chris

There is no quick fix, the whole thing would need to come down and get redone. You are probably fine leaving it the way it is, you would have to be the one to decide if it was safe or not.

May 11, 2017
uneven obove ground pool
by: Anonymous

I have round 30 ft above ground pool 4 inches uneven. it sits on red clay soil. should I redo or is it safe?


I would drain and redo.

Apr 27, 2020
Coleman 22’ x 52’
by: Justin

Just bought an above ground pool. Just put it together and didn’t think it clearly through. One side is unlevel by 6inches. Problem is I’m renting and I do not own the house and my yard is slightly slanted. Any ideas on how to fix this. I’m highly concerned.

Hi Justin

Above ground pools on rental property do pose a problem. They do, however, need to be level.

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Above Ground Leveling Question

by Misty

New install on 21x54 metal wall above ground. Yard was professionally graded and laser leveled. We dug in pavers around entire perimeter of track. As we started to fill, we are seeing we are off level. It appears we didn’t sink a couple pavers as well as we should have since the ground itself was level before. I went to each post and measured the distance between water line and top rail and all measure under 1” variance, but when you add the gradual decline up the north most upright water line is measuring 28.5” from water to top rail, and the south most pole is measuring 31”.

You prob don’t need this much detail, but here are the measurements at each pole going clockwise.
28 3:4
29 1/2
30 1/4
29 3/4
30 1/4
30 1/4
30 10/16
30 2/16
29 1/3
29 1/4
28 1/2

Is this a drain, level, refill situation?

Hi Misty You are not that far out of level so it's up to you. If it does not bother you it should be fine. We laser level the ground first but we also laser level each post before installing the pool wall.

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